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The Mind in the Workplace

The Mind in the Workplace Series, focuses on the importance of mental health in the workplace. Mental health can be a topic that many shy away from in the workplace. Breaking the silence on this topic strengthens our ability to be inclusive and aware of challenges that others may be struggling with. Join us in this important series to learn more about mental health challenges and ways to support employees who experience mental health challenges so that everyone in the workplace can thrive.

Week 6: The Mind in the Workplace - Depression in the Workplace

Please Note: The Mind in the Workplace series aims to educate and spread awareness about mental health disorders and their impact on the workplace. However, members of the HR team are NOT mental health professionals. The information provided should not be used to self-diagnose, nor does it fully depict the complexity of each mental health disorder referenced. We understand that mental health looks different from person to person for numerous reasons. Therefore, please use discretion and consider doing external research when viewing the videos in this series.


Discussion Questions:


1. As mentioned in the video, depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States (according to the CDC). This is not just for mental health-related disabilities but for all disabilities, including physical. The economic impact was estimated to be $44 billion per year, according to Harvard Business Review. Does this information surprise you? How does the level of discussion surrounding depression compare to its economic impact?

2. The previous video discussed how depression and anxiety are often diagnosed together. How can an employer best support an employee or team member who’s living with multiple mental health disorders? How can employers and employees work together to determine solutions?


3a. One day at the office, Damon confides that he has recently been diagnosed with depression and is struggling with feeling hopeless. As a fellow employee, what would be the next steps to take in this scenario? What if you were in a manager position? 

3b. Alternatively, what if Damon has not shared any official diagnosis with you, but seems to be struggling with persistent sadness? Is there a way you can speak with him or your manager to provide support and encouragement to Damon? How would you approach this?

If you are on a computer (sorry- not available on a mobile device) try hovering over a statement below to see if this is potentially a good response:

Reach out to HR for ideas on how to

help Damon.

The HR team is a great resource if you need assistance or have concerns that need

to be addressed.  It can be difficult to know what to say, but the HR team is available to help arm you with resources and tips for doing your best to help a coworker in a respectful and caring way.

Ask, "​Why are you

so depressed?"

Don't ask a team member if they are depressed. Instead, ask them how they are doing and show interest in their life while also respecting their privacy. Let them know you care. You can do that without being intrusive or demanding (or giving) a mental health diagnosis.

Don't do anything. It's none of your business, and he will ask for your help if he needs it.

If you think something is wrong, the best approach is never to ignore it.  Even if that just means starting with a simple question such as, "is everything okay?"  They may refuse to talk, but make it known you are there to listen if they need help.

Hang a motivational cat poster, and encourage Damon that it's all about keeping a positive attitude.

Cat posters may be cute (debatable), but this is not likely to be helpful.  What people need is to know they are not alone. Remember, for people with depression, there's more going on than just "keeping a positive attitude." You shouldn't try to "fix" someone or their problems, especially with pithy one-line solutions. But it does help to let someone know you are there for them.

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